UP video: SC to hear plea against journalist’s arrest, three more heldhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/up-video-sc-to-hear-plea-against-journalists-arrest-3-more-held-5774284/

UP video: SC to hear plea against journalist’s arrest, three more held

The fresh cases mean police have now filed six cases in UP and arrested six persons over the last three days. Police had earlier arrested Kanojia for allegedly uploading a video on Twitter in which a woman is heard making some claims about Adityanath.

UP video: SC to hear plea against journalist’s arrest, 3 more held
Prashant Kanojia is a freelance journalist based out of New Delhi. (Source: Facebook/Prashant Kanojia)

On the day the Supreme Court said it will hear Tuesday a plea by the wife of journalist Prashant Kanojia against his arrest by the UP police for allegedly making “objectionable comments” against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on social media, police Monday registered three more FIRs and arrested three persons for allegedly uploading morphed photographs of the CM.

The fresh cases mean police have now filed six cases in UP and arrested six persons over the last three days. Police had earlier arrested Kanojia for allegedly uploading a video on Twitter in which a woman is heard making some claims about Adityanath. He also allegedly made “objectionable comments” on the video.

UP video: SC to hear plea against journalist’s arrest, 3 more held
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Ishika Singh, head of a Noida-based news channel, and Anuj Shukla, one of the editors of the channel which aired the video, were also arrested. And while new FIRs were registered at Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar and Gorakhpur districts, police arrested two more persons and said raids were on to trace two others, who are allegedly on the run.

Editorial | The three arrests by UP police for a tweet and a video are an attack on free speech — they need a strong rebuff

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In the SC, the petition by Kanojia’s wife, Jagisha Arora was mentioned before a vacation bench of Justices Indira Bannerjee and Ajay Rastogi with her counsel seeking urgent hearing saying the arrest was “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.

On Monday, Basti police arrested village head Akhlaq Ahmed (42) for allegedly uploading a morphed photograph of Adityanath on a WhatsApp group. Akhlaq was produced before a Basti court which sent him to judicial custody, according to officiating SHO of the Rudhali police station, Ashok Kumar Verma. A farmer, Ahmed is the head of Bashkor village in Basti.

According to Verma, “on Sunday HUV (Hindu Yuva Vahini) worker Raj Kumar Soni informed police that Akhlaq had uploaded an ‘objectionable’ morphed photograph of Adityanath on a WhatsApp group”.

On Soni’s complaint, police registered an FIR against Ahmed under IPC Section 505 (2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes), he said.

“The WhatsApp group on which the objectionable photograph was posted was prepared by Rudhali police long time back to get connected with local residents and seek information from them.”

In another case, the Mehdawal police station in Sant Kabir Nagar district filed a case against a local Mohammad Asif and said they were conducting raids to trace him. Mehdawal SHO Ravindra Kumar Gautam said, “HUV’s Sant Kabir Nagar city president Rajneesh Pratap Singh had filed an FIR against Asif for allegedly uploading a message carrying the morphed photograph of Adityanath on a WhatsApp group of which he is also a member.”

A case was lodged under IPC Section 500 (defamation) and Section 67 of the IT Act, said Gautam. In a third case, the Gorakhpur police Sunday arrested 40-year-old Peer Mohammad. Police are looking for one Dharmendra Bharti, who allegedly shared a morphed photograph on Facebook and also made a derogatory comment on it, said Circle officer, Gola (Gorakhpur), Satish Chandra Shukla.

According to Shukla, “the case against Mohammad and Bharti was lodged at the Gola police station on Sunday on charges of defamation and the IT Act for uploading and sharing an objectionable morphed photograph of the Chief Minister on Facebook” Mohammad, a businessman, was produced before a local court, which sent him to judicial custody, said Shukla.

Meanwhile, police also arrested 30-year-old Raju Singh Yadav, three days after lodging an FIR against him for allegedly uploading morphed photographs of Adityanath on Facebook. According to Hemraj Saroj, the Asothar police station SHO, Singh, who works at a private firm in Mumbai, was arrested from near his residence in Fatehpur. He will be produced before a local court Tuesday.